I've guided fishing trips for many years and lately, I've been on a multi-species kick. The bass fishing gets notoriously tough on my lake throughout the summer, so my clients and I have started targeting striped bass and hybrid striped bass on a regular basis. They're a blast to catch, but in all honesty, they're horrible to unhook. Every fin and gill plate will slice your hands open and their small mouths are hard to lip; every one you catch will try to tear you up.
I figured this was a perfect time to test the EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper tool and it has really saved my hands from the wrath of the stripers. If you're a multi-species angler, I'd strongly recommend keeping this affordable tool in your boat.
Let me explain why I say that.
They're not getting off
The EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper is designed for easy, one-hand operation and although it's small in size, I've been very surprised by how strong and sturdy it is. I've had dozens of big stripers dangling from this tool and they're staying put; I don't have to worry about them flopping onto my boat carpet or falling off the gripper and finning a client in the foot. The strength of these jaws allows me to take my time while unhooking, photographing and releasing the fish.
From what I can tell, this tool will not injure the fish, either. I have paid close attention to the fish after releasing them from the EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper and each one has bolted back down to the depths to be caught again.
Very intelligent design
It took me a while to fully understand the design of the EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper. It comes with a long lanyard attached to the side of the handle and a strong, quick-release magnet attached to the top of the handle. After a little tinkering, it all made perfect sense and I've grown to love the design.
I hook the quick-release magnet carabiner to my front belt loop and the lanyard carabiner to my side belt look. This keeps the tool handy throughout the entire guide trip. When it's time to grab a fish, I can quickly snatch downward and the magnet breaks free, giving me full range of motion and the safety of a sturdy lanyard. I don't have to worry about dropping the tool in the water if I lose my grip.
It's also worth noting that when worn like this, it doesn't pull your pants down. I primarily wear lightweight pants with elastic waistbands when I fish, so this is actually a major "plus" for me. This is not a bulky or heavy gripper and you'll quickly forget you're wearing it.
The magnet is serious business
As I mentioned, a quick downward snatch of the EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper will easily release the magnet, allowing you a full range of motion while handling fish. But it's not going to release unless you want it to. You can run around the boat, ride in rough water and walk the bank without it coming undone.
Extra-long lanyard doesn't limit you
I've tested several fishing tools that have had unusually short lanyards that will severely limit your mobility in time-sensitive situations. Thankfully, the EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper has a longer lanyard than most, which lets me grab fish in any position necessary. Whether I'm laying on my stomach, leaning over the front gunnel or kneeling over the back deck of my boat, the lanyard doesn't limit me in any way.
No rust so far
Rust is another big factor I pay attention to when I'm testing fishing tools; there's no point in buying something if it's going to become unusable after a month. The EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper has been quite resistant to rust after lots of extended exposure to moisture. I'm not taking special care of this tool. I've been abusing it on a weekly basis and I haven't seen a speck of rust on it yet.
This tool has earned itself a permanent spot in my boat. It's small, compact and it works exactly how it should. I'm pretty thrilled that I don't have to monkey around trying to lip those crazy stripers this summer.
The EGO Kryptek Mini Gripper is available at EgoFishing.com.